I have been interested in history and gardening for as long as I can remember.
As a child I was allowed to have a patch of ground to grow whatever I liked. My mother called the plants, ‘Weeds’. I called them wild flowers.
I was fascinated by the strange names and the folk tales that such common plants had.
I was lucky to attend a village school that had books about King Arthur, Greek myths and the Vikings. My imagination went into overdrive.
I spent my childhood building camps, cooking (well, actually burning food) over open fires, making bows and arrows and using cricket stumps for swords - I still find cricket very boring.
I eventually became a qualified gardener and worked my way up to being a Head Gardener.
Later I researched medieval gardens and the uses of the plants, which was very useful when I created the medieval gardens at the Prebendal Manor at Nassington, Northamptonshire.
I studied for my MA in Garden History at Birkbeck, London whilst I was a full-time college lecturer in Horticulture.
Unfortunately due to government guidelines, college courses do not give you much time to teach real gardening anymore.
I decided to become self-employed and transformed myself into the Historic Gardener.
Things I Can Do
The Historic Gardener offers talks and displays on gardening from the Roman period to the 1940’s ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign. I have one of the largest privately owned collections of authentic and replica gardening tools and equipment in the UK.
I can provide talks on modern gardening too, including wildlife gardens.
With a Garden History MA and as an ex-Head Gardener with masses of practical experience of gardening, education and the heritage sector, I offer an accurate and fun display,suitable for everybody,even those who start off by not being the slightest bit interested in gardening.
I will be in period costume at all times. The display can be based around a large tent with tools, plants and lots of other items to give an attractive and fun event for visitors.
I could represent a specific person associated with your garden, Such as ‘Capability’ Brown.
The Historic Gardener will provide a fascinating insight into the gardens, plants and tools of bygone times. Whether you wanted to eat, appear more beautiful, relieve pain, improve a meal or kill a few rats, there were plants for every need!
A Few Accomplishments
I have been a professional Head Gardener, college lecturer in Horticulture and Gardener Designer/Consultant.
I designed and created what was once the largest authentic medieval garden in Europe, although sadly, much of the features and planting have been removed. I am still passionate about medieval gardens and I am currently writing a book about them.
I have appeared on local radio and national TV scything grass, demonstrating Georgian canal surveying and more unusually, with Alice Roberts as a medieval pilgrim in her Britains Most Historic Towns. I am in the fifthe programme of series two.
I have written a book, Death in the Garden, which is mostly about poisonous plants with tales of Magic, Myth, Murder and Passion!